BBC and ITV launch Freesat

The BBC and ITV have today (May 6) launched their joint venture free-to-air digital satellite service, Freesat. The venture will rival BSkyB’s existing ‘Freesat from Sky’ service, which is ramping up its retail marketing to compete.

Freesat will offer up to 200 channels by the end of the year, including high definition services, BBC HD and ITV HD. It will offer a more comprehensive service than Freeview, which airs on the digital terrestrial television (DTT) platform and has limited capacity.

The Freesat set top box will cost £49 with a high definition box available from £120 and installation will cost around £80. The service will be able to reach 98% of UK households and involves no subcription or contract.

Sky’s offer, which it markets as “Pay once, watch forever”, is now on sale at for £75 although previously cost £150. It includes installation and four months of four Sky TV mixes in addition to up to 200 free-to-air channels.

Freesat managing director, Emma Scott, says the launch marks a “landmark” for digital TV in the UK, which will bring free HD programmes “to everyone”.

She adds: “With more than 9.6 million HD-ready televisions already sold in the UK, but only a tiny fraction of those who own them currently able to receive HD programmes, there’s a big opportunity for Freesat to lead the way in introducing the UK to high definition viewing.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here